Diabetics may benefit from "artificial" pancreas

Posted at 10:47 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-19 00:47:16-04

Doctors and researchers at CU Anschutz’s Barbara Davis Center are testing a new treatment that could change the lives of millions of children and adults living with diabetes. 

The concept is known as an “artificial” pancreas, and it is part of the research funded by the Children's Diabetes Foundation.

Using a cutting-edge sensor system, the goal of the “artificial” pancreas is to reduce the number of times per day a diabetic has to test their blood sugar levels.

"The technology allows children with type 1 diabetes to maintain their blood sugar in a very narrow range,” said Dr. Gregory Forlenza, a pediatric endocrinologist. "So if you start to go too high it gives you a little more insulin, if you start to go too low it gives you a little less insulin," he said.

For Aidan Frei, 11, the technology could allow him more freedom as he will not have to stop his routine to monitor his blood sugar.

"I waste probably like 30 minutes a day normally testing blood," said Frei. Frei participates in several sports including lacrosse and ultimate Frisbee. The innovation may allow him more freedom on the field.

"If this thinks I'm going low, it will do it automatically instead of me having to go to the sidelines or something to correct it myself," he said.

In addition, families may save money on testing supplies as tests may not be needed as often.

Clinical trials are now taking place, but it may several years before the concept is given government approval.

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